After 10 years in business, even a favorite neighborhood restaurant can use a little—or a lot—of freshening up. In Needham Heights, Blue on Highland recently reopened after a major makeover to both the aesthetics and the menu. The Eames-inspired bar is now the focus of the dining room, complete with repurposed barstools from the 1940s that were originally intended for submarines. Also of note are six new high-walled booths conducive to a more intimate dining experience.
As for the modern American menu, it now features dinner options such as a blue crab cocktail with housemade cocktail sauce and a Highlander burger topped with Vermont cheddar, slow-braised short rib, crispy onion strings and a roasted garlic Worcestershire demi-glace. Lunch includes treats such as shrimp tacos with a lime-dressed slaw and chipotle sauce, short-rib grilled cheese on Texas toast and a hot-buttered lobster roll on brioche.
For those who prefer a home-cooked dinner without the chores of shopping and chopping, Pantry has opened its doors in Brookline’s Washington Square. The shop offers a rotating roster of “recipe kits” complete with all the preportioned ingredients (locally sourced when possible) you’ll need to prepare dinner for, say, a date with that special someone you’re finally inviting to your apartment. Early examples of seduction suppers are shepherd’s pie with quinoa crust and sweet potato flautas with radish and jicama salad. … In Hyde Park, Antonio’s Bacaro, originally slated to open in May, is still on track, albeit a slower track. The owners, who run the popular Sophia’s Grotto in Roslindale, tell us to expect a fall opening. … Finally, why do so many new and upcoming restaurant names sound like mutual funds or corporations? Republic. Waypoint. Committee. Maybe a Chinese restaurant could be named Hunan Resources. Or maybe we can just appreciate that one of the worst-named restaurants in the country recently opened in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s called Death & Taxes.